PANAMA CITY — If Bay’s boys basketball team was a six-speed transmission Tuesday night, Arnold was a five-speed.
The two teams were neck and neck early on in their District 1-5A contest, but the Tornadoes pulled away in the second half to claim a 75-46 victory at the John L. Cobb Gymnasium.
Bay improved to 5-5 overall and 2-1 in the district. The visiting Marlins dropped to 2-7 and 0-3.
The Tornadoes led 39-33 at halftime before blitzing Arnold with an 11-0 run to start the second half. Bay’s Keyshawn Patterson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during the spurt, and the Tornadoes led 50-33 after Tommy Wade’s free throw with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. The Marlins failed to get closer than 13 points (52-39) the rest of the way.
Bay point guard Ryan Norwood acknowledged that beating a county rival was satisfying.
“I have friends on the other side of town,” said Norwood, who scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half.
Norwood appeared to wear down the Arnold defenders tasked with slowing him. He converted five layups, and Arnold had trouble keeping him out of the lane.
“I’m usually faster than everyone I’m playing against,” Norwood said. “I’m trying to create my own shot (with dribble penetration). It’s natural. It’s my (quick) first step.”
Arnold coach Robert Britton was disappointed with his team’s effort coming out of the locker room at halftime. A first-year head coach with the Marlins, Britton said his players have had trouble maintaining intensity for a full 32 minutes in games this season.
“The first three minutes of a quarter are important in football, basketball, hockey,” Britton said. “We didn’t come out with any intensity for those three minutes.”
Talent-wise, Bay and Arnold aren’t all that different. Both teams enjoy capable guard play on the perimeter, and each has players who can produce in the post. The biggest difference, however, is that Bay coach Mike Grady’s system has been in place for four years. Arnold’s players and coaches, meanwhile, are trying to navigate through their first season together.
“We need to pick up our confidence,” Britton said. “That’s our big issue. … We want to play a fast pace on offense and hard-nosed man defense. The players in the program are not used to running that. It’s presented some problems, and intensity has been an issue in games all year. With eight seniors, they’re expecting more success. But you’ve got to learn to walk before you can run.”
Grady said the Tornadoes are maturing quickly after a tough non-district schedule that has included games against Tallahassee Rickards and Havana East Gadsden.
“It’s allowed us to get to travel outside Panama City and see teams from outside the area,” Grady said. “At our Christmas tournament we’ll see many different styles of basketball. We’re kind of worn down right now.”
Darreyen Sims fired in 17 points for Bay. Bevon Stewart led Arnold with 10 points.
ARNOLD(46) — Murray 3 3-5 9, Britton 3 1-2 8, Davison 3 2-4 8, Feitel 0 2-4 2, Stewart 3 4-4 10, Arsenault 6, Craig 1 1-2 3. Totals 16 13-21 46.
BAY (75) — Norwood 7 5-8 19, Goodman 3 0-0 6, Foster 3 1-2 7, Holloway 1 0-2 2, Sims 5 6-13 17, Butler 0 0-0 0, Shorter 3 1-4 7, Patterson 3 1-2 9, Wade 3 2-4 8, McNeil 0 0-0 0. Totals 28 16-35 75.
Arnold 14 19 7 6 — 46
Bay 16 23 16 20 — 75